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Friday June 4, 5:20 am Eastern Time

Dioxin scare may hit Belgian budget -minister

BRUSSELS, June 4 (Reuters) - Belgian Budget and Farm Minister Herman Van Rompuy said on Friday he expected the crisis over dioxin poisoning to hit the country's budget.

``It is a terribly important, delicate dossier, not just for public health...but it is also a dossier with enormous economic consequences and I fear also budgetary consequences,'' Van Rompuy told VRT radio.

Van Rompuy took office as farm minister earlier this week when his predecessor Karel Pinxten resigned over the widening crisis related to the contamination of animal feed with the cancer-causing chemical dioxin.

``It is a very heavy dossier, I've been in function for a day and a half, this is a legacy I will remember for the rest of my life,'' Van Rompuy said.

Industry, trade and employers organisations were on Friday struggling to estimate the cost of the scare over food safety, which has caused retailers to withdraw chicken, egg, and pork products from their shelves.

Slaughter houses have been closed, laying off staff, and an official three-day ban was slapped on transporting livestock, while farms were desparately seeking a solution for the cost of feeding longer than expected and for unsaleable stock.


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